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Rashmi Ranjan

Soon after the Orissa High Court on Wednesday unanimously decided to launch a formal opposition against the proposal for setting up of two permanent benches of the Orissa High Court, politics over the matter gained momentum in the State.

While Opposition BJP and Congress alleged that the State government does not want the permanent benches to be set up in western and southern Odisha, the ruling BJD accused the Centre of creating disturbance over the matter in the State.

Targeting the ruling BJD, Congress leader Sura Routray said, “The bench must be set up in western Odisha. There is nothing to oppose it. Why would they travel so long for the hearings?”

Echoing a similar opinion, BJP leader Pradip Purohit said, “In a letter to the State government, the Union Law minister has urged to take decision on the setting up of permanent benches. I don’t think the ruling BJD government wants to set up a High Court bench in western Odisha. It is just misleading the people and creating discrimination among them.”

Refuting the allegation, BJD said the Centre is playing the permanent bench card to create disturbances in the State.

“The Centre is trying to create dispute by not announcing the name. We will provide necessary infrastructure wherever the permanent benches will come up,” Rural Development Minister Sushant Singh said.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the HC Bar association has decided to form an action committee to prepare a resentment representation for submission to the Chief Justice not to give his consent for establishment of two permanent benches of the High Court of Orissa both in south and western parts of the State during the General Body meeting today.

The move by the lawyers' body comes just days after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to obtain the Orissa High Court nod for setting up the HC benches in western and southern Odisha.

In a letter, the Union Law Minister suggested Naveen to hold consultations with the Orissa HC Chief Justice and chalk out details on requirements like land, building and staff for the proposed benches.

The Centre said that it will take further necessary actions only after the proposal to set up the HC benches is sent by the State government after due consent from the High Court.

It may be noted that demand for setting up a permanent bench in western and southern Odisha has been hanging fire for the last several years. On several occasions, the situation has created mass protests in the regions.

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